Louis van Gaal may have questioned the wisdom of Manchester United’s extensive pre-season tour of the USA but it can be considered a resounding success both on the field and commercially.
US tour success
Manchester United won four of their fixtures outright, and recorded another victory via a penalty shootout in the five matches they played in the US, beating Roma, Real Madrid and Liverpool on a productive trip.
Pasadena, Denver, Washington, Ann Arbor and Miami were the destinations as Manchester United travelled the breadth of the country and, while the racking up the air miles was far from ideal for the players, they hardly showed it on the pitch.
Based on results and performances it was a worthwhile tour for Van Gaal and his players, although the manager will still surely contest any suggestions for a trip of similar length when he is actively involved in plans for next year’s pre-season.
It will be interesting to see how much of a say Van Gaal will have in terms of the destination given the commercial success the club enjoyed by taking their brand to the US, and there has already been an invite extended for 2015.
Their involvement in the International Champions Cup and a share of the gate receipts from the thrashing against LA Galaxy, which was watched by 86,000 fans, ensured Manchester United made £8 million for only around three week’s work, as detailed by David McDonnell in The Mirror.
This summer was the fourth time Manchester United have played in the USA in 11 pre-seasons, while there have also been visits to Australia, Thailand, Japan, China, South Korea and South Africa over the past decade.
On paper this pre-season was one of the most arduous with almost 13,500 miles having to be covered across America, but it still remains unlikely Van Gaal will get entirely his own way next year.
If Manchester United do accept the invitation to return in 12 months then Van Gaal and his staff will have to work out the best solution, which may well be to create a ‘home’ environment where they could be based for the duration of the trip.
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The constant travelling this year was not only a strain on the physical well being of the players, but also affected their routine with the movement from training ground to training ground meaning they were never able to become settled.
A Carrington on tour idea would likely be entertained if a return is made, with the squad training at their own temporary ground and then travelling to and from there for each game, rather than bouncing around various venues.
Van Gaal, of course, would still much rather stay closer to home - something Chelsea were able to do this summer, and could prove beneficial for Jose Mourinho's side over the course of the season.
That said, Manchester United's absence from European competition ensures there will be no midweek flights to the continent during the new campaign, which should be a significant advantage in the pursuit of glory.